broken clouds
humidity: 50%
wind: 6m/s SW
H 11 • L 5
Weather from OpenWeatherMap

Comment & Opinion | Sport

The Jockey’s Journal: The British Trainers’ Championship is almost too close to call

Willie Mullins Stable Visit ahead of Cheltenham Festival, Bagenalstown, Co. Carlow 29/2/2016 Trainer Willie Mullins and jockey Ruby Walsh (far right) with Don Poli, Valseur Lido, Vautour and Djakadam Mandatory Credit ©INPHO/Morgan Treacy
Willie Mullins (Photo: Inpho)

WE’RE fast approaching the final day of the jump season this Saturday.

The championship for jump trainers is tight and it’ll most definitely come down to the Bet365 meeting at Sandown, where there’s a lot of prize money on offer.

This season, Willie Mullins has been unbelievable. The British Championship for trainers is won by the amount of prize money accumulated over a 12-month period, not by the volume of winners you have.

More Sport:

For Mullins, Cheltenham was a huge boost with his prize money hitting the roof. Going into last Saturday’s penultimate race of the season he was around £40,000 ahead of Paul Nicholls, but by the end of the day Nicholls had pulled ahead again.

Who knows what the outcome will be this weekend, but one thing’s certain – it’ll be an exciting one to watch.

It’s also an exciting weekend ahead because Richard Johnson finally gets to put on the crown as Champion Jockey after all the years finishing second to AP McCoy.

Richard’s a very good friend of mine, and in the 15 years that I’ve known him he’s remained the same person; a gentleman.

As a Welsh farmer’s son he’s worked his way up on the point-to-point, so there’ll no doubt be a big cheer for him on Sunday to celebrate what he’s achieved. I think he’ll find it very emotional, we all will, he deserves the crown.

It’s fitting that he gets his reward after all these years, he was just unlucky that he was competing while AP McCoy was around. I do hope that Richard will stay on for another year and claim a back-to-back victory.

On the flipside, things weren’t running too smoothly for a jockey in France last week, when a horse ran off track during a race and into the crowd at Nantes racecourse.

It’s clear that the jockey was trying to correct the horse – it was very unusual for the horse to do what it did. It does happen, but normally it would happen at the start of the race or midway through or even going into an obstacle.

Here, the horse was heading towards the finish line. You would think that the easiest thing would be to go straight. But the horse went right, towards the crowd.

Sometimes when the animals are hurt, for example the horse can bleed inside, and sometimes you don’t even know what happens to a horse until the next morning. Stuff like this occurs if something isn’t right with the horse because it takes a lot for one to do that. It’s not malicious.

I’ve had a horse run out before going into the second last, but that’s because he wanted a way out, he wasn’t hurting.

The only people who can identify whether an animal is hurting are those who are with the horse 24/7.

I’ve seen horses hit the front and look like they’re going to win the race and then pull back from 35mph to about 0mph in no time, which is hard for a horse to do, just to stop.

There’s often a reason behind it, even if we, as jockeys, can’t see it.

Watch the video below


Dougie Costello

Jump jockey Dougie Costello writes a weekly column for The Irish Post print edition every Wednesday. Check out his tips every week and follow Dougie on Twitter @DougieCostello

Welcome to Irish post

Please share your email address to view the article

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

About us

The Irish Post is the biggest selling national newspaper to the Irish in Britain. delivers all the latest Irish news to our online audience around the globe.

Contact Editorial

Tel: +44 (0)20 8900 4193


Tel: +44 (0)20 8900 4137


Irish Post